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Hong Kong protests: Media tycoon, 2 others plead guilty

Prosecutors play video showing Jimmy Lai, others attending protest assembly declared 'unlawful' by police

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 07.04.2021
Hong Kong protests: Media tycoon, 2 others plead guilty

ANKARA

Media tycoon Jimmy Lai and two politicians accused of participating in anti-government protests in 2019 pleaded guilty on Wednesday to attending an illegal assembly in Hong Kong.

Jimmy Lai, a popular media entrepreneur and founder of Apple Daily, along with former lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan and former Democratic Party Chairman Yeung Sum, told the court that they attended the protest assembly, which was declared unauthorized by the police, RTHK reported.

“I plead guilty but I haven’t done anything wrong. History will absolve me,” Lee told the court where video recording of his participation was played.

The trio pleaded guilty to taking part in the protest march on August 31, 2019, which devolved into chaos as clashes erupted between Hong Kong police and demonstrators in various districts of the semi-autonomous region.

The trial came only a week after Lai and Lee, along with five others, were convicted for allegedly taking part in another “unlawful” protest assembly on August 18, that year. However, all of them denied the charges brought against them.

Prosecutors told the court that the August 31 march was organized by the Civil Human Rights Front, but it had been deemed banned by the police.

Video footage showing Lai, Lee, and Yeung attending the rally in Wan Chai, as well as a subsequent demonstration, was played in the court.

Police are seen warning people that the assembly is unlawful while protestors are seen blocking roads.

If convicted, they will face a maximum of five years in jail under Hong Kong’s Public Order Ordinance.

In custody, Lai awaits trial over a national security case.

A proposal to legalize the extradition of criminals from Hong Kong to mainland China was shelved after it sparked widespread protests in 2019 in the enclave, which is one of the world's busiest trade hubs.

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